One day I had and keep having the feeling that mainstream tools for Code Generation are over-engineered and provides a lack of Separation on Concerns.
This was the motivation for me to build Essential as a MDE tooling for creating and maintain custom code generators. Time has arrived I need to get it back to life, refresh it and adapt to the new needs.
The morning started with the first keynote. Markus Völter led the session with the title “Domain-Specific Language Design – A conceptual framework for building good DSLs”. Here Markus deep down with an ontology approach, reviewing the dimensions of DSL Design: covering nine topics: expressivity, coverage, semantics, separation of concerns, completeness, paradigms, modularity, concrete syntax & process. In the session, he focused mainly on expressivity, semantics, modularity and concrete syntax. I found specially interesting the dissection of types of language extension and composition providing detailed samples in each case. In summary, good and quality stuff as Markus used to deliver. As commented by Markus, this material will be published as a book “DSL Engineering” at the early 2013.
The session was very good. The slides are not enough, the accompanying demo shown the tool at work. Achim and his team created Silverlight based UIs using a Java back-end. The S4 environment presented is agile enough to model and generate UIs for the ERP domain Achim was targeting.
Next session for me was for the Jetbrains’s guys Maxim Mazin and Evgenii Schepotiev with the talk “Webr-DNQ — web application development with pleasure”. They show the language extensions Jetbrains has designed over Java using MPS to build in-house products like YouTrack. This is a very clear sample of the quote: eat your own dog food.
After a coffee, and back to action to a very different session: Steven Kelly lead the hands-on session titled “Have your language built while you wait”. Here some of us creating Language Workbenches where placed in a room with our laptops waiting for customers. During rounds of 25 minutes we were attending them showing the capabilities of each tool and solving a concrete and practical small problem proposed by the customer. 15 master craftsmen, representing 11 top language workbench tools, volunteered their time to build languages for participants’ domains. It was a very interesting format because it not only allows people to try new tools, but also to promote cross polinization between tool makers. From mi side I was there showing Essential and also have the chance to play a little with The Whole Platform with Riccardo Solmi and Enrico Persiani and take a closer look to Ensō with Alex Loh.
So far, so good! Another day full of code generation, but the dessert was still missing.
This year CG2012 changed the relaxing punting trip on the river Cam in favor of a conference called “How Apollo we flew to the moon” by David Woods. The result: totally amazing! This guy presented us all a brief but detailed introduction to the Apollo systems and navigation procedures and then deep down on the specific problems on the Apollo XI, the mission where Aldrin, Armstrong and Collins engraved theirs names in the history.
Given the audience, David make special emphasis on the computer devices on board in the Apollo missions. Totally amazing the rudimentary technology used was good enough to fly to the moon and come back! Q&A delivered may geek questions about the Apollo mission that David responded with flying colors to impress even more the audience.
So I couldn’t resist, and bought my copy of his book and got it autographed by David (I was not the only one BTW). A good reading for sure, if you like space and/or engineering.
The guys at the Eclipse Modeling Framework leaded by Ed Merks@edmerks are working hard in XCore to provide ECore models a textual syntax. This is a needed feature from a long time.
It was also a good surprise to see how XCore syntax is quite close to Essential Meta. This is good news again: interoperability between the Java modeling side of world (EMF) and .NET modeling efforts with Essential are now simpler with the arrival of XCore.
As Meinte Boersma @miente37 comment on twitter: semicolons seems to be the main difference.
La comunidad Alt.NET Hispano ha publicado la VAN (desconferencia) sobre Generación de código con Essential que tuvimos el pasado dia 11 de junio. Si estás interesado en MDD, generación de código y como aplicarlo con Essential, este video grabado para la comunidad en español es un buen punto de partida.
Mi agradecimiento a Alt.NET Hispano por el interés en la materia y la invitación a divulgarlo.
Once again, back home after the most exciting till date edition of the Code Generation conference in the latest years. The co-allocation of the Language Workbenches Competition has been a great incentive to attract all of us to join and present alternatives to a great challenge in the domain of modeling and code generation.
I want to celebrate it with the MDD community sharing my work on Essential(a tool designed for acquiring speed with Model Driven Development). On 11th may 2011, version 0.4.44 has been released as the first public beta.
Essential is a meta-modeling and code generation tool providing specific DSLs to define and consume:
Templates (using StringTemplate) &
Transformations (Model2Text and Model2Model)
With a strong emphasis on model interpretation, prototyping a code generation can be done in an agile way without the need of generating any infrastructure boilerplate or meta-editor plumbling accessories.
The main goals of the tools is to enable software architects to:
Prototyping software directly from models in a unexpensive way
Evolve theirs software architectures as fast as possible experimenting with design choices
Benchmarking and comparing architectures
For all of you interested in, feel free to try it, enjoy and provide feedback.
I submitted a proposal with Essential for participation in LWC11. It’s going to be a great forum for comparing language workbenches capabilities and the state of the art in the area. If interested, track the progress here LCW11.
During the last weeks I’ve been working a little, replacing the old Microsoft Oslo dependencies to MGrammar inside Essential to an alternative parsing solution. The MS Oslo and later SQL Server Modeling never passed from the CTP stage and finally were discontinued. Therefore, I couldn’t ship a product in such conditions and finally decided to change it.